For some children, learning to read is a very difficult task. My first child, Petunia, learned to read almost on her own. Then came Little Britches, and learning to read suddenly became a nightmare. So, if you are struggling to figure out how to help your struggling child, here is a little bit of advice and empathy.
Stop paying attention to other people's timelines. Your child's cousins and friends might be reading chapter books while your child is still struggling to put letter sounds together. Don't worry your child will read when the timing is right for them. Paying attention to what other children are doing only puts stress on you and through you onto your child. Celebrate your child's progress, instead of worrying about their lack of progress.
Make reading fun. Play games that include reading skills. We used hopscotch to teach the alphabet and then we used hopscotch to find site words. We made up a treasure hunt game based on site words that we were learning. There are websites that make games out of learning words. Read fun books together.
Find a reading program that works for your child. Little Britches and I went through several highly recommended programs that were simply frustrating for her and in turn frustrating for me. Finally, we found what worked and she is finally reading. Don't be afraid to try something else, because if it isn't working then it isn't going to work.
Read every day. Little Britches picks a book that she wants to read, then we start working on that book together. She reads the words that she knows and I fill in when she gets to a word that she doesn't know. Depending on the book and the level of difficulty, depends on how much of the book we read each day. However, we work on it every day until the book is finished and then we start with another one. I think this has really been key to her reading progress.
Learning to read has been really slow for us and we have changed "programs" several times. Little bit by little bit we have had progress. She is still not a strong reader, but she is reading. Most importantly, she wants to read and enjoys it. Hope this helps those others out there struggling to find their way along the path to reading. Blessings, Kat